How ‘once’ becomes ‘here’: Professionals remaking space-times of education

Year: 2018

Author: Seddon, Terri

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Accounts of globalisation and education have proliferated since the 1990s, with studies of policy and policy effects often contextualising research on professional practice. This research trajectory has produced an emerging field of comparative policy studies that acknowledges the shifting scales of education governance and traces the cultural dissonances that accompany mobile policy making, the effects of transnationalism and their materialisations in local policy contexts. But the lineage of this research field in sociologies of governing and comparative education means globalising education tends to be read in ways that prioritise space and mobility, while downplaying time and temporalities. In this paper, I trouble commentaries about ‘respatialising education’ by considering the way transnational respatialisations also have rehistoricising consequences. This interplay between space and time is discussed helpfully by John Berger (1984) who talks about the nexus between space and time in terms of particular events, which have effects that are mediated by ways of seeing, which spill over into ways of knowing, doing and being/becoming human that materialise everyday life. Reflecting on the trials and tribulations of a book project that has traced the privatisation of TAFE-VET in Australia, I surface methodological challenges in moving between a spatial and temporal register. In the presentation I use a specific narrative, written in 2012 about an experience in 1985 to surface the space-time nexus. I discuss how a narrative with a biographical orientation completely scrambled my spatial-mobility analysis of education policy and policy effects, partly by opening up cans of worms that I had previously set aside. Then I outline my 2018 strategy for understanding emerging space-times of education, which examines how once became here through professional knowledge building and particular professionalising projects. This line of inquiry raises questions about the nature of professional education in these times and what might constitute professional education in a post-truth world.
Berger, John (1984) And our faces, my heart, brief as photos. London: Writers and Readers.